ACG Strathallan runner wins NZ Road Race Championship
ACG Strathallan student Siobhan Balle, in Year 10, has won the U15 Girls New Zealand Road Race Championship, held in Cambridge on 2 September 2018. It is her first national title.
Siobhan was running for Papakura Athletic and Harrier Club.
Siobhan’s race time of 11:04 for 3km placed her 18 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.
“From the gun, Siobhan set an intensity that none of her competitors were able to maintain,” explained ACG Strathallan running coach James Kuegler, pictured with Siobhan. “She built a small lead, and then continued to extend it.”
The win completes Siobhan’s remarkable streak of three road race wins in two weeks: Auckland Road Race Championships - U15 Girls; Auckland Secondary Schools Road Race Championships - Junior Girls; and the New Zealand Road Race Championships - U15 Girls.
James said he had been confident Siobhan would be near the ‘pointy end’ of the field in yesterday’s race, but the win was particularly special as most athletes will never win a national title.
For Siobhan, winning the title was a surreal feeling after initially hoping to come in the top ten.
“It’s helped me prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, it’s just getting over that last hurdle of my mind. There have been many times where I’m in front and then someone passes me and I let it get inside my head. Last week I nearly had one of those moments, but I said to myself ‘you can do this, stick to her shoulder and you’ll make it.’
“Winning that race and pulling through that patch in my mind really showed me that I can do it.”
Siobhan thanked James for pushing her outside her comfort zones, and teaching her to push herself when she thinks she can’t do it. “He’s there to shout ‘Venga! Venga!’ from the side-lines, he is an inspiration and a great motivator for me and many others.”
ACG Strathallan appointed running coach James Kruegler this year to develop running and fitness training at the school and get more students participating in the sport.
A Drury local, James is a professional running coach – and competitive runner, himself – who uses his background as a doctor of Chiropractic to inform his practice. He has initiated the school’s first running club, which trains twice a week.